THERE are some bright sparks at Singleton High School.
And a group of year eight and nine students are powering towards a bright new technology future.
They have been tinkering with a converted pushbike which they’ll ride next Sunday in an electric vehicle race as part of national science week.
The teenagers attended a workshop last month when inventer Jon Eggenhuizen converted their bike and biophysics engineer Gary Ellem explained aerodynamics, energy efficiency and battery chemistry.
Mr Eggenhuizen’s Catavolt racing team currently holds the Australian electric motorcycle championship and one of his superbikes set the Australian electric bike land speed record of 177 kilometres per hour.
The Singleton students will streamline their bike this week in the hope of not just being competitive, but winning their endurance event at Newcastle’s Cameron Park Kart Raceway.
The race will conclude the Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Festival which began last Friday in Newcastle.
It included a foreshore show featuring the $200,000 Varley supercar, several American electric roadsters, a converted 1980s sports coupe plus electric superbikes. The Singleton team will race other school teams over a tight, twisting circuit.
The bikes will have identical batteries that cost no more than $200, weigh less than five kilograms and drive an electric motor that propels the rider at an average of 30 kilometres an hour.
There will be one compulsory rider change during the event and the team that covers the greatest distance after 90 minutes wins.
One of the Singleton riders, Blake Duff, said that while the team got together for the fun of the experience, its members had one main thing in mind – victory.
Oh yes, he’d also like to see events such as this advance technology for the benefit of future generations.
Additionally, technology teacher, Jason Kolatchew, said the race had reignited interest in an old solar car that the school has had for years and he hoped it may eventually be resurrected by the electric bike team.